A couple in the city and on the stage, they have garnered rave reviews with each staging, from their magical adaptation in 2015 of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” for the Comédie-Française, to Molière’s “Bourgeois Gentilhomme”. completely crazy which is sold out at the moment in this same house.
“Gulliver’s Journey”, a show that enchanted young and old at the Théâtre de l’Athénée, enabled them to win two Molières on Monday evening, that of visual and sound creation and that of staging for a theater show. audience. Before that, between them, they had already obtained five.
The secret ? “It’s not a magic potion but we are in such a dark period which is also very digital… And what we do is often extremely joyful and visual, so it embarks on another world”, affirms to AFP Valérie Lesort, actress and visual artist.
– Upcycled puppets –
“Our shows are handmade, we do everything not to use video. (…) People need this poetry that the craft brings”, she adds.
Key element in their art: puppets. They have their entrance through the main door at the Comédie-Française with “Twenty thousand leagues under the sea”, manipulated by the actors bringing out a sumptuous ballet of jellyfish and other sea creatures.
“The professional puppeteers thanked us for upgrading” their profession, remembers Christian Hecq, himself a member of the “house of Molière” and who trained with a “master”, Philippe Genty.
Without making shows specifically for “young audiences”, they seem to have found the antidote to the aging of spectators, at a time when a report from the Court of Auditors regrets a decline in audiences under 24 years old.
“What’s great is having the children accompanied by their parents, whether it’s multigenerational,” says the 58-year-old Belgian actor.
In “La Périchole”, a comic opera by Offenbach recently staged solo by Valérie Lesort at the Opéra Comique, the visual artist creates a show rich in color and unexpected ideas that made the audience laugh.
“The visual brings adults back to childhood and we have children on our operas or plays – where they are normally supposed to be bored – who are happy because it makes them grow up”, adds Valérie Lesort, 46 years old.
In their “Bourgeois Gentilhomme”, Monsieur Jourdain dances to music from the Balkans: “We wanted to make people want to dance,” says Mr. Hecq, fed in his youth with comic strips like those of Gotlib but also with breakdance and smurf.
For Valérie Lesort, it was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” clip, the Muppet Show and… a mother who was an opera and dance critic who took her to the Aix-en-Provence opera festival.
– Entertainment, vulgar? –
“I stored a lot of images and… I got bored a lot too. There’s a trauma there,” she laughs. “Christian, it was the same … Small, he was sleeping” at the theater, she slips mischievously.
Hence an “extreme fear of boredom” in the couple.
“When we do shows, we don’t want there to be an explanatory note in the program”, underlines Mr. Hecq, recalling a questionnaire given by a teacher to his class after “20,000 leagues under the sea”. “The questions were more complicated than the show”, regrets the artist.
Valérie Lesort, a fan of musicals, does not understand why the word entertainment is “vulgar” in France. Or when critics are embarrassed to see “the public applauding at the wrong time” during an opera.
Their only “black” piece remains “La Mouche”, an adaptation of George Langelaan’s short story (brought to the screen by David Cronenberg). Such a success that the Macron couple had moved to the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.
Does this success scare them? “The more we do, the more anxious we are!” Says the couple who return to the Opéra Comique in December with an adaptation of the film “La petite boutique des horrors”.